Kirby: Right Back at Ya!

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Promotional poster showing the main cast of the anime.

Kirby: Right Back at Ya! (known in Japan as 星のカービィ Hoshi no Kābī, Kirby of the Stars) is a japanese anime series based on the Kirby franchise released in 2001. It was made by a company called Warp Star, a joint project of Nintendo and HAL Labs. It first aired in Japan on CBCTV, and was later dubbed and brought to North America by 4Kids Entertainment. It has also aired in many other countries and languages, including most of Europe and Asia. The show ran until September 27, 2003, with a total of 100 episodes, ending with "Fright to the Finish" loosely based on the then recently released game Kirby Air Ride.

The show follows the title character Kirby, a young and inexperienced Star Warrior, who lives in the peaceful land of Dream Land after accidentally crash landing there. The evil King Dedede and his assistant Escargoon continuously try to get rid on him, usually by ordering monsters from NightMare Enterprises. In addition to his dislike for Kirby, Dedede often treats the inhabitants of Cappy Town, (the village of which he is the self-proclaimed king) in a bad way, and Kirby usually gets help from his friends to challenge this behavior. The show features many of Kirby's Copy Abilities from the games, as well as various enemies, Mid-Bosses and bosses, most of which appear in the form of monsters ordered by Dedede. However, as the show ended before the release of Kirby & The Amazing Mirror, no elements from that game and later games are seen.

While the show borrows many characters, places, and themes from the Kirby games, the show takes place in its own universe separate from the main series.


Development

The Outline

As Kirby's popularity was nearly nonexistent in the west, it was decided that a Kirby animated series would be a good way to bring in new fans. Kirby Right Back at Ya' was made as a joint project between HAL and Nintendo, called Warp Star. The main director was a veteran of animation, Soji Yoshikawa. Kirby's creator Masahiro Sakurai created the original proposal and set many of the guidelines for the show. Many of the difficulties in creating an anime for Kirby were detailed in early interviews with Nintendo.

Sakurai had a few things he wanted and didn't want for the show. One, he didn't want Kirby to speak. And two, he didn't want there to be any humans! Nearly everyone involved, including Sakurai, admitted that not having Kirby speak was quite a challenge. Though there are characters like Snoopy and Link that don't speak, it's much harder to do with the main character of a TV show. In addition, without humans they had to come up with unique species and characters. (Yoshikawa compared it to a Finnish children's book series series called The Moomins, which had no humans.)

Another of Sakurai's intentions was that Kirby would seem 'like a pet', until he gains a Copy Ability and can battle. His view for Kirby seems to be one of 'hidden strength'. Yoshikawa, who also served as one of the writers, had great visions for making the series widely accessible, using not only facets of the games, but references culture and events from real life.

The Animation

Perhaps the biggest part of making the show went into the animation. Yoshikawa spoke of how the Japanese animation industry had reduced itself to shortcuts and cutting corners. He wanted to have animation where things could 'be moved as much as we pleased'. And so they made the decision to do a mix of traditional 2D and 3D computer graphics animation.

Because of this, they were able to focus far more on creating lively, smooth animation for the characters. The frame rate of the show is 2-3X higher than most anime! (About 10,000 frames are used in each episode, compared to the 4000-5000 used by most anime on TV.) Even with the length of the series, the animation improves noticeably as it goes on, likely as the animators improve their techniques.

Characters

Main Characters

Kirby - The main character of the series. Shown as having the mind of a baby, and caring deeply for his friends.

Tiff - A quick witted, intelligent girl who lives with her family in Cappytown who often helps Kirby out and cares for him. She's the only one who can summon his Warp Star.

Tuff - Tiff's little brother. He's not too bright and kind of a troublemaker, but is good at heart and a great friend.

Meta Knight - A mysterious swordsman who acts as a sort of mentor for Kirby.

Villains

King Dedede - The king of Cappy Town; shown to be quite stubborn, rude and hot headed. Has a passionate hatred for Kirby.

Escargoon - Dedede's right-hand man and personal assistant. Escargon helps him with his schemes, but isn't bad at heart.

Nightmare - The main villain who runs Holy Nightmare Co. He's usually only seen in the shadows.

Customer Service - The public face of Nightmare's company, shown later in the series to be very short.

Side & Guest Characters

Artwork

Promotional Art

Episodes

Japanese # English # Episode Title Copy Ability Japanese Airdate English Airdate
1 1 Kirby Comes to Cappy Town Fire October 6, 2001 September 14, 2002
2 2 A Blockbuster Battle Stone October 13, 2001 September 14, 2002
3 3 Kirby's Duel Role Sword October 20, 2001 September 21, 2002
4 4 Dark and Stormy Knight Sword October 27, 2001 September 21, 2002
5 5 Beware: Whispy Woods! N/A November 3, 2001 September 28, 2002
6 6 Un-Reality TV N/A November 10, 2001 September 28, 2002
7 7 Kirby's Egg-Cellent Adventure N/A November 17, 2001 October 5, 2002
8 8 Curio's Curious Discovery Stone November 24, 2001 October 5, 2002
9 9 The Fofa Factor Cutter December 1, 2001 October 12, 2002
10 10 Hail to the Chief N/A December 8, 2001 October 12, 2002
11 11 The Big Taste Test Cook December 15, 2001 October 19, 2002
12 13 Escargoon Squad N/A December 22, 2001 October 26, 2002
13 29 Cappy New Year Fire, Parasol December 29, 2001 December 28, 2002
14 14 The Pillow Case N/A January 5, 2002 October 26, 2002
15 12 Kirby's Pet Peeve N/A January 12, 2002 October 19, 2002
16 15 A Fish Called Kine Tornado January 19, 2002 November 2, 2002
17 94 The Thing About the Ring N/A January 26, 2002 September 16, 2006
18 16 Flower Power Needle February 2, 2002 November 2, 2002
19 17 Here Comes the Son Fighter February 9, 2002 November 9, 2002
20 18 Dedede's Snow Job Ice February 16, 2002 November 9, 2002
21 19 A Princess In Dis-Dress Sword February 23, 2002 November 16, 2002
22 20 Island of the Lost Warrior Tornado March 3, 2002 November 16, 2002
23 21 The Empty Nest Mess N/A March 9, 2002 November 23, 2002
24 22 Ninja Binge Ninja March 16, 2002 November 23, 2002
25 23 Like Mother, Like Snail / Escargoon Rules Parasol March 23, 2002 November 30, 2002
26 24 Sword and Blade, Loyal and True / Hour of the WolfWrath Galaxia March 30, 2002 November 30, 2002
27 25 The Flower Plot Cutter April 6, 2002 December 7, 2002
28 26 Labor Daze Ice April 20, 2002 December 7, 2002
29 27 The Hot Shot Chef / A Spice Odyssey Cook April 27, 2002 December 14, 2002
30 28 Hatch Me If You Can Fire May 4, 2002 December 14, 2002
31 30 Abusement Park Mike May 11, 2002 February 1, 2003
32 95 A Dental Dilemma Tornado May 18, 2002 September 23, 2006
33 34 Junk Jam Fire May 25, 2002 February 1, 2003
34 33 A Recipe for Disaster Cook June 1, 2002 February 15, 2003
35 31 The Kirby Derby - Part I N/A June 8, 2002 February 8, 2003
36 32 The Kirby Derby - Part II Wheel June 15, 2002 February 8, 2003
37 35 Watermelon Felon N/A June 22, 2002 March 1, 2003
38 44 A Novel Approach Clean June 29, 2002 June 21, 2003
39 36 Escar-Gone N/A July 6, 2002 March 8, 2003
40 37 Monster Management Fighter July 13, 2002 March 15, 2003
41 38 Prediction Predicament - Part I Fire July 20, 2002 March 22, 2003
42 39 Prediction Predicament - Part II N/A July 27, 2002 March 29, 2003
43 40 Sheepwrecked Needle August 3, 2002 April 5, 2003
44 41 War of the Woods Cutter August 10, 2002 April 12, 2003
45 52 Scare Tactics - Part I N/A August 17, 2002 October 25, 2003
46 53 Scare Tactics - Part II Fire August 24, 2002 November 1, 2003
47 42 Pink-Collar Blues Stone August 31, 2002 April 19, 2003
48 43 Tourist Trap Fire, Ice September 14, 2002 April 26, 2003
49 47 Cartoon Buffoon N/A September 21, 2002 September 20, 2003
50 48 Don't Bank on It N/A September 28, 2002 September 27, 2003
51 49 Kirby Takes the Cake Bomb October 5, 2002 October 4, 2003
52 45 Snack Attack - Part I N/A October 12, 2002 September 6, 2003
53 46 Snack Attack - Part II Fighter October 19, 2002 September 13, 2003
54 54 One Crazy Knight Mirror October 26, 2002 November 8, 2003
55 55 Sweet and Sour Puss Needle November 2, 2002 November 15, 2003
56 56 Dedede's Pet Threat Hammer November 9, 2002 November 22, 2003
57 57 A Half-Baked Battle Bomb November 16, 2002 November 29, 2003
58 58 eNeMeE Elementary Fighter November 23, 2002 December 6, 2003
59 59 The Meal Moocher Cook November 30, 2002 December 13, 2003
60 60 Crusade for the Blade Sword, Galaxia December 7, 2002 February 7, 2004
61 61 Fitness Fiend Mike December 14, 2002 February 14, 2004
62 62 Mabel Turns the Tables Tornado December 21, 2002 February 21, 2004
63 63 Something to Sneeze At N/A December 28, 2002 February 28, 2004
64 64 The Kirby Quiz N/A January 4, 2003 March 6, 2004
65 65 Masher 2.0 Fighter January 11, 2003 March 13, 2004
66 66 The Chill Factor Ice January 18, 2003 March 20, 2004
67 67 The School Scam Fighter January 25, 2003 March 27, 2004
68 68 Delivery Dilemma Jet February 1, 2003 April 3, 2004
69 69 Trick or Trek Tornado February 8, 2003 April 10, 2004
70 70 Buccaneer Birdy Mirror February 15, 2003 April 17, 2004
71 71 A Whale of a Tale N/A February 22, 2003 April 24, 2004
72 72 Waddle While You Work N/A March 1, 2003 September 18, 2004
73 73 Dedede's Raw Deal Spark March 8, 2003 September 25, 2004
74 74 Caterpillar Thriller N/A March 15, 2003 October 2, 2004
75 75 Fossil Fools - Part I N/A March 22, 2003 October 9, 2004
76 76 Fossil Fools - Part II Crash March 29, 2003 October 16, 2004
77 77 Dedede's Monsterpiece Paint April 5, 2003 October 23, 2004
78 78 Right Hand Robot Bomb April 19, 2003 October 30, 2004
79 79 Goin' Bonkers Hammer April 26, 2003 November 6, 2004
80 80 Power Ploy Stone May 3, 2003 November 13, 2004
81 81 A Trashy Tale Clean May 10, 2003 November 20, 2004
82 82 Cooking Up Trouble Spark May 17, 2003 November 27, 2004
83 83 Teacher's Threat Sword May 24, 2003 December 4, 2004
84 84 Mumbies Madness Bomb May 31, 2003 December 11, 2004
85 85 A Sunsational Surprise / A Sunsational Puzzle Jet June 7, 2003 December 18, 2004
86 86 A Chow Challenge Cook June 14, 2003 May 28, 2005
87 87 Waste Management Wing June 21, 2003 June 4, 2005
88 88 Shell-Shocked Hammer June 28, 2003 June 11, 2005
89 89 Tooned Out Spark July 5, 2003 June 18, 2005
90 90 Born to Be Mild - Part I N/A July 12, 2003 June 25, 2005
91 91 Born to Be Mild - Part II Wheel July 19, 2003 July 2, 2005
92 92 Hunger Struck Cook July 26, 2003 July 30, 2005
93 93 D'Preciation Day Parasol August 2, 2003 August 6, 2005
94 96 Cowardly Creature Throw August 9, 2003 October 28, 2006
95 97 Frog Wild Fire August 16, 2003 November 4, 2006
96 50, Movie Air-Ride-in-Style - Part I N/A August 23, 2003 October 11, 2003
97 51, Movie Air-Ride-in-Style - Part II Baton, Water, Iron, Top, Crash August 30, 2003 October 18, 2003
98 98, Movie Cappy Town Down N/A September 13, 2003 November 25, 2006
99 99, Movie Combat Kirby Cook, Ice September 20, 2003 December 2, 2006
100 100, Movie Fright to the Finish Bomb, Fire, Star Rod September 27, 2003 December 9, 2006
101 101, Special Kirby 3D Fire, Kabuki May 2009 (Wii) February 2012 (Nintendo 3DS)
102 Pilot 102 Pilot Kirby of the Stars Pilot Ice, Spark 2000 Unknown

Trivia

  • Its acronym, 'KRBaY', is similar to Kirby.
  • Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land, the remake of Kirby's adventure, was released during the time the anime was originally on the air. That game is the one that shares most concept than previous Kirby games, especially including Nightmare.
  • The anime was briefly available for viewing on the Kirby TV Channel, a free Wii channel.
  • The English theme song for the show is an unlockable song in the 2004 rhythm game Donkey Konga
  • The 88th episode of the series "Shell Shocked" was supposed to air it's English dub in 2005, but for unknown reasons was pre-empted by "This Week's Baseball". The episode was officially aired sometime in 2006 but was lost for many years, until youtube user "Operation Hoshi no Kaabii" uploaded it to the site on September 26th, 2015.
  • Chef Kawasaki's English voice actor is also the voice of Meowth in the english dub of the Pokemon anime from 1998 - 2008.
  • Mayor Len's English voice actor is also the voice of Dr. Eggman in most modern Sonic the Hedgehog games.